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Low Sex Drive in Women

Definition


Disease: Low Sex Drive in Women Low Sex Drive in Women
Category: Sexual diseases
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Disease Definition:

Over the years, a woman's sexual desires naturally vacillate. Usually, the highs and lows are associated with the beginning or end of a relationship or with major life changes, such as illness, menopause or pregnancy. However, there are lifestyle changes and sex techniques for women with a low or decreased sex drive, to put them in the mood more often. Medications could also be used.

The best measure of low sex drive in women is still controversial. The desire for sex in perfectly normal women in addition to their views about the optimal amount of sex differs greatly. Stress, fatigue, lack of emotional intimacy and poor body image are some of the reasons that women skip sex that have nothing to do with desire. Besides, the number of times a woman has sex each week isn't necessarily a good measure of her libido.

In medical terms, hypoactive sexual desire disorder is when someone has a persistent or recurrent lack of interest in sex that causes them personal distress. However, to seek help, people don’t have to meet this medical definition. They could talk to a doctor if they aren't as interested in sex as they would like to be.

Work Group:


Prepared by: Scientific Section

Symptoms, Causes

Symptoms:

A low or absent desire for sex is the major symptom of low sex drive in women. According to some studies, at some point, more than 40% of women complain of low sexual desire. However, if only the women with ongoing problems are taken into account, the percentage will be smaller, about 5 to 15%.

If someone’s partner wants to have sex more often than them, although this could cause distress, it doesn't necessarily mean that any of them are outside the norm of people at their stage in life. Researchers acknowledge that it is difficult to measure what is normal and what is not. Sex drive varies from one woman to another, and there isn't a number that defines low sex drive.

Causes:

A complex interaction of many components that affect intimacy, including emotional well-being, physical well-being, current relationship, beliefs and lifestyle is what a woman's desire for sex is based on. A woman’s sexual desire could be affected if she is experiencing problems in any of these areas. Some of the reasons that could cause her not to be interested in sex may include:

PHYSICAL CAUSES:
A low sex drive could be caused by a wide range of illnesses, medications and physical changes, such as:

Medical diseases:
Infertility could contribute to low sex drive, even after treatments are over.
Coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, neurological diseases, diabetes and cancer are some of the numerous nonsexual diseases that could affect someone’s desire to have sex.

Sexual problems:
A woman’s desire to have sex could be affected in case she is unable to orgasm (anorgasmia) or if she experiences pain during sex (dyspareunia).

Medications:
Antihistamines could affect sex drive. Additionally, blood pressure medications, chemotherapy drugs and antidepressants are some of the other medications that are considered notorious libido killers.

Fatigue:
Low sex drive could also be caused by exhaustion, such as when caring for young children or aging parents.

Alcohol and drugs:
Too much alcohol could spoil a woman’s sex drive, despite the fact that one glass of wine could make her feel amorous. Street drugs also spoil sex drive.

Surgery:
A woman’s body image, function and desire for sex could be affected by any surgery that is related to her breasts or genital tract.

HORMONE CHANGES:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding:
Sex drive could also decrease due to hormone changes during pregnancy, just after having a baby and during breast-feeding. During these times, hormones aren't the only factor affecting intimacy. Some of the things that could contribute to changes in sexual desire may be fatigue, changes in body image and the pressures of carrying, or caring for a new baby.

Menopause:
The health of a woman’s vaginal tissues and her interest in sex is maintained by estrogen. However, during the transition to menopause, the estrogen levels drop causing dryer vaginal tissues and decreased interest in sex, which could make sex uncomfortable and even painful. Some women may experience a decrease in testosterone at the same time, which boosts sex drive in men and women. Some women experience decreased sex drive during this hormonal change despite the fact that others may have satisfying sex during menopause and beyond.

PSYCHOLOGICAL CAUSES:
Some of the psychological factors that could cause low sex drive may include:

 

  • Poor body image
  • Mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression
  • History of physical or sexual abuse
  • Low self-esteem
  • Stress, such as work or financial stress


RELATIONSHIP ISSUES:
Sexual intimacy is greatly affected by emotional closeness for many women. A major factor in low sex drive is relationship problems. Usually, ongoing issues cause decreased interest in sex, such as:

 

  • Breach of trust or infidelity
  • Unresolved conflicts or fights
  • Lack of connection with the partner
  • Poor communication of sexual needs and preferences

Complications

Complications:

None

Treatments:

Usually, a multifaceted treatment approach aimed at the many causes behind this condition is quite beneficial for many women. Lifestyle changes, sex education, counseling and sometimes medication could be included in this.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES:
A woman’s desire to have sex could be greatly improved by lifestyle changes, such as:

Exercising:
A woman’s stamina could be increased, her body image improved, her mood elevated and her libido enhanced by regular aerobic exercise and strength training.

Being less stressed:
A woman’s sex drive could be enhanced if she finds a better way to cope with work stress, financial stress and daily hassles.

Being happier:
Women should find ways to bring extra joy to their world, because a sense of personal well-being and happiness are quite important to sexual interest.

Strengthening the pelvic muscles:
To improve the awareness of the muscles involved in pleasurable sexual sensations and increase the libido, a woman could perform pelvic floor exercises (Kegel exercises). This exercise is performed by tightening the pelvic muscles as if stopping a stream of urine, and then counting to five, relaxing and repeating. These exercises should be done several times a day.

RELATIONSHIP CHANGES:
For most women, a better sexual intimacy could be achieved by better emotional intimacy.

Communicating with the partner:
Usually, couples that fight fair and communicate in an open and honest way maintain a stronger emotional connection, leading to better sex. Conflicts and disagreements are a natural part of any relationship. Another important thing is communicating about sex. To set the stage for greater sexual intimacy, people should talk about their likes and dislikes with their partner.

Seeking counseling:
In case a woman has low sex drive, she could talk with a sex therapist or counselor who is skilled in addressing sexual concerns. Usually, therapy includes education about sexual response, couples' exercises and recommendations for reading materials.

Setting aside time for intimacy:
To help put the sex drive back on track, people could make intimacy a priority, despite the fact that scheduling sex into the calendar could seem contrived and boring.

MEDICAL TREATMENTS FOR LOW SEX DRIVE

Medications aren't always necessary to treat low sex drive. But they can help.

Treating underlying causes of low sex drive:
Usually, treating an underlying medical condition or addressing a medication that is causing the sexual side effects will be the first medical intervention for low sex drive. This could be either starting treatment for previously undetected conditions or adjusting or changing the current medications.

Estrogen therapy:
The brain functions and mood factors that control sexual response could be positively affected by systemic estrogen therapy, by pill, patch or gel. The woman’s blood flow to the vagina could be increased and her desire improved by local estrogen therapy, which could be in the form of a vaginal cream or a slow-releasing suppository or ring that she could place in her vagina. In some cases, she could be prescribed a combination of progesterone and estrogen.

Testosterone therapy:
In female sexual function, male hormones such as testosterone play an important role, but occur in much lower amounts. This therapy seems to be more effective for women who have low testosterone levels due to surgery to remove the ovaries (oophorectomy). In case a woman chooses this method, to make sure that she’s not experiencing negative side effects, a doctor will closely monitor her symptoms and blood levels. Hirsutism (excess body hair), mood or personality changes and acne are some of the negative side effects of testosterone therapy. However, people should know that this therapy is controversial and isn't approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).

Prognosis:

Not Available

Expert's opinion

Expert's Name:
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